Fabio Capello faces up to some pressing dilemmas

Football FanCast columnist Richard Marsh looks at the dilemma's that Capello needs to solve ahead of next year's World Cup.

Admit it; you knew it was too good to be true. England? Qualify for a major competition without any worries or issues? Come off it. This year's apparent England Problem is defensive carelessness- principally aimed at Mr Rio Ferdinand and Mr Ashley Cole.

A mistake by the former led to Robert Green becoming the first goalkeeper to get sent off in an England international match, and a mistake by the latter led to the goal which ended England's 100% run in qualifying. Yes, players make mistakes, it is part of the game, but think back, think back to the game at Wembley against Kazakhstan, yes, we scored five, but they scored one. How? Ashley Cole gave them the ball, they ran up the pitch, and scored. Now, think back to the enthralling Manchester derby just weeks ago, Craig Bellamy scored in the 90th minute to make that game 3-3, how? Rio Ferdinand gave him the ball, Bellamy ran up the pitch, and scored.

Saturday's game was not the first time both of these defenders had made costly errors. It is a common theme and Ferdinand's reputation throughout his career has been dogged with comments about his mindset for that is what it is, it is not a question of physical ability, of potential, of strength or pace, it is the ability to consistently focus on every second of every minute of every game, totally focused. Cole too, has been called sloppy and careless.  If this happens in June in South Africa, there is nobody to protect us, nobody to help us, we will be punished much more than we were on Saturday. There are only three games in a group stage at the World Cup, not ten, no margin for error.

It cannot happen in June, Capello must work hard to cut out these errors, think back to Danny Mills against Sweden in 2002, gave the ball away and cost us a goal. We were lucky enough to get away with it and still qualify for the next round, but the same cannot happen again in South Africa.
Capello will be grateful to have John Terry in the back four alongside Cole and Ferdinand, Terry, arguably one of the finest defenders in the world, is one of the few England players to show as much pride for country as he does for club. The brilliant captain does not give the ball away. Full Stop.
Can Capello cut out these mistakes? We will find out in the summer. The game on Saturday, hopefully, will have highlighted out shortcomings, and will allow England to learn from these mistakes and make sure these errors do not happen again.

Without doubt had we gone through with 10 wins out of 10, complacency, an England tradition, would have kicked in and we would be on the plane to South Africa thinking we had won the cup already.

All the brilliance of Rooney, of Gerrard, could be wasted without a rock solid back four, a back four with no mistakes, no messing around, and a back four of solid, committed defending.

Of all the challenges Capello has and still is, facing as England manager, balancing Gerrard and Lampard, sorting the midfield formation, finding Rooney a partner, the challenge of cutting out careless defending will be one of his greatest.

Can we win in South Africa? Many believe we can, are we good enough currently? No. Can Capello work his magic? That is the great question.

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Article title: Fabio Capello faces up to some pressing dilemmas

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